The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) assures the public that after the assessment of the Beach Nourishment Project in Manila Bay this morning, the dolomite area as well as the geotubes and geotextiles installed as geo interventions for the project are all intact. The dolomite sand has not been washed out and the dolomite pebbles were only pushed to the perimeter of the beach area.

While the normal high tide level is 1.3 meters, it rose to 1.5 to 1.6 meters because of the habagat or southwest monsoon that started last week and continued into the weekend.

As a result, a huge amount of trash was swept by the waves which accumulated in the area. These were traced to have come from the Pasig River and Cavite and from all the tributaries that flow to the bay. Plastic cups, wrappers and styropor were among the trash collected.

A huge number of bamboo poles from fish pens, fish cages, and baklads/sapras were also washed ashore.

In view of this, and consistent with the Supreme Court mandamus on Manila Bay directing all mandamus agencies to dismantle and remove all illegal structures, constructions, and other encroachments in Manila Bay, I have ordered Executive Director Nilo Tamoria of Region 4A (CALABARZON) to conduct an immediate and complete inventory of all the fish pens, fish cages, baklads/sapras in Cavite, and to identify those with permits to operate. Legitimate operators will be required to repair their damaged fish pens and cages while those without permits shall be ordered to immediately self-demolish.

Even prior to the start of the habagat or southwest monsoon, I have already directed the Regional Executive Directors of the National Capital Region, and Regions 3 and 4A to strictly implement proper solid waste management especially in their areas of jurisdiction.

I wish to express my thanks and appreciation to all the volunteers, river rangers and estero rangers who are helping clean the Manila Baywalk and Baseco of all trash as part of the continuing rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

We at the DENR believe that behavioral change is the key and ultimate solution to address the issue of solid waste management in the country.###